Ethics Committee Releases Probable Cause Against Mayor Marks

By: Eyewitness News Email
By: Eyewitness News Email

Tallahassee, Florida - June 20, 2012 - Noon -

Results of an ethics complaint against Tallahassee's mayor have been publicly released. Last week, the Florida's Ethics Commission found enough evidence to believe Mayor John Marks violated the state's code. The results come following Friday's closed door hearing.

According to the release, the commission found probable cause to believe Mayor Marks had a voting conflict when he voted to approve the city's participation in a federal grant partnership with the Alliance for Digital Equality, or ADE, because the mayor served that organization as a paid board member. However, the Commission found no probable cause the mayor had a contractual relationship with ADE while the non-profit group was doing business with the city because ADE never had a contract with the city.

In a separate complaint, the commission found probable cause to believe Mayor Marks voted on matters in March, June and September of 2007 and June 2008 to help the Honeywell Corporation while the mayor worked for a law firm representing Honeywell.

However, the commission found no probable cause on five accusations Mayor Marks had conflicts of interest as a result of the city's contracts with Honeywell.

While Mayor Marks didn't speak to us after he left Friday's hearing, later that afternoon, he did release a statement. It says in part the commission's decision was not a finding of wrongdoing. It also says when all the facts are considered, he's confident any decision with reflect the truth. Marks believes that the truth is he acted in the sacred trust of public service.

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Tallahassee, Florida - June 20, 2012-

The Commission’s press release from its June 15th meeting is attached.

The Commission found that there was probable cause to believe that Tallahassee Mayor JOHN MARKS had a voting conflict when he voted to approve the City’s participation in a federal grant in partnership with the Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE), a company he served as a compensated board member. However, no probable cause was found to believe that Mayor Marks had a contractual relationship with ADE while ADE was doing business with the City, because the City never entered into a contract with ADE.

In a separate complaint, the Commission found probable cause to believe that Mayor Marks voted on matters in March 2007, September 2007, June 2007, and June 2008, that inured to the gain of Honeywell—a client of his law firm. However, the Commission found no probable cause on five allegations that he had conflicts of interest as a result of the City's contracts with Honeywell.

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Tallahassee, Florida - June 19, 2012

Results of an ethics complaint against Tallahassee's mayor are expected to be publicly released Wednesday. That word came from the state's ethics commission. The commission did find enough evidence to suggest Mayor John Marks may have violated the state's ethics code.

Mayor John Marks and his attorney left the state capitol on Friday without comment, other than to confirm Florida's ethics commission found the mayor may have broken state law. Local businessman Erwin Jackson complained the mayor profited from the Alliance for Digital Equality and the Honeywell Corporation while supporting city contracts for those organizations. The ethics commission has agreed there may be some truth to those claims.

"They came to a conclusion many of us knew was very obvious, that John Marks used his office of the mayor for his own personal, private benefit," says Erwin Jackson, the man who filed the complaint against Marks. It's not the first time Jackson has accused Mayor Marks of wrongdoing. In March, the mayor pointed out anyone can file a complaint and he said Jackson, who Marks referred to as an "angry man", had taken advantage of the system.

"There have been 12 complaints filed with the city since 2003. Can you guess who did it, huh? None of which have come to any conclusion that anybody violated the ethics law," Marks said.

A statement released by the mayor on Friday afternoon said this was not a finding of misconduct. He considers public service as mayor a sacred public trust.

In March, the mayor also addressed a pending FBI investigation on the same issues.

"I welcome their investigation. I have absolutely nothing to hide with regards to that," Marks said.

City Commissioner Gil Ziffer says before he can comment, he wants an opportunity to review the ethics commission report when it's made public later this week.

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Tallahassee, Florida - June 15, 2012 - 3:10pm

The Florida Commission on Ethics found probable cause in complaints filed against Tallahassee Mayor John Marks by local businessman Erwin Jackson.

Mayor John Marks was not available for comment.

Stay with WCTV for details.

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Tallahassee, Florida - June 15, 2012 -

A hearing for an ethics complaint against Tallahassee's mayor is taking place. Local businessman Erwin Jackson filed the complaint against Mayor John Marks.

At issue in this complaint is the mayor's association with two companies. As we've previously reported, the mayor voted to give a non-profit group called the Alliance for Digital Equality or ADE a city contract. The mayor had been paid thousands of dollars by that group.

As we've also reported, the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized files from the city attorney's office several months ago to take a look at this issue. However, to date, the U.S. Attorney has not taken any action in the case.

The current ethics complaint also claims Mayor Marks had an improper association with Honeywell. That company received a $50,000,000 no bid contract from the city to install smart meters to save energy.

The complaint claims the mayor's former law firm, the now defunct Miami based Adorno & Yoss, had Honeywell as a client. Therefore, Jackson claims the company was given favored treatment.

One of two things will happen today. The ethics commission will either determine there's enough evidence or probable cause to pursue the ethics complaint against the mayor, or the commission will decide there isn't enough evidence and drop the matter.

We should point out, this complaint is the latest in a series of complaints by Jackson against Mayor Marks. To date, none of them has resulted in a ruling against the mayor.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Patriot Location: USA on Jun 18, 2012 at 06:43 AM
    Because he is a black politician, nothing will be done since it may "offend" and start riots.
  • by a little help Location: Tallahassee on Jun 18, 2012 at 04:06 AM
    If we can do this to the mayor, why cant we do the same against the governor ? Everyone knows that recent contracts that have been awarded to certain companies was only done because of the affiliation with him, not because they were the best.
  • by C-ltl on Jun 18, 2012 at 03:40 AM
    The sky is falling!
  • by Karen Location: Tallahassee on Jun 17, 2012 at 05:12 PM
    Facts are facts. Marks needs to go!
    • reply
      by Yes Karen on Jun 18, 2012 at 04:59 AM in reply to Karen
      Yes Karen, facts are facts. And the fact is he should have been in prison long ago. But he keeps being reelected by people who vote based on skin color and could not care less about his morality as long as he keeps punching their meal tickets.
  • by tallygirl on Jun 17, 2012 at 05:04 PM
    Let it go people!!It is what it is and IT is about ethics.Wrong is wrong not matter who it is!!!
  • by Ghost Location: In The Machine on Jun 17, 2012 at 03:21 PM
    Well, well, well—what comes around goes around. I had a hunch that this would happen. In fact, I was hoping it would as payback. Let me explain; a couple of years ago, I met Mr. Marks, not that he would remember (to most people I am invisible, unless they need a scapegoat). I even sat in his office with a group of, let's say, "other people." I immediately ascertained, while watching him act important, that he was a self-absorbed narcissist. To make a long story short, one of his " assistants" tried to blame me for something that occurred in City Hall. Nothing happened to me though, because in the grand scheme of things it was inconsequential, but I did feel very insulted from the accusation. It looks like Marks and his cronies are doing more deceptive deeds, but I hope the truth comes out this time.
  • by Erwin 4 Mayor on Jun 17, 2012 at 05:05 AM
    Priority agenda after Erwin is elected Mayor. Get rid of Anita Favors, Jim English, and others like them at any cost. It will be less expensive than keeping them on. Put Lew Shelly in Jim English's former position. Despite being surrounded by snakes Mr. Shelly's an honest trust worthy man who has the skills and integrity needed to do the job correctly.
    • reply
      by Frank on Jun 17, 2012 at 09:43 AM in reply to Erwin 4 Mayor
      Jim English has seen what's coming and he's retiring.
  • by Juke on Jun 17, 2012 at 05:03 AM
    I think Mr. Jackson doesn't like African Americans too much. He probably doesn't agree with a president of the United States being black too. Perhaps he's got too much time on his hands and needs to take up a hobby, spend time with his wife, or participate in his kid's activities a little more. This will keep his mind busy.
    • reply
      by Disrespectful on Jun 17, 2012 at 08:40 AM in reply to Juke
      Juke your comment is in total disrespect to our Presidents White heritage. Why do you even think our President is Black? Are you one of those "one drop of Black blood = a Black person" racists? Hello Juke; White Mom Black Dad = our President. Check yourself hater, stop trying to claim our President as being a convenient race "flavor-of-the-day", just because it makes you feel warm and fuzzy.
    • reply
      by ugh... on Jun 17, 2012 at 09:28 AM in reply to Juke
      I think he just doesn't like crooks!!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 17, 2012 at 09:42 AM in reply to Juke
      You miss the point completely. Marks did the things on which the ethics commission ruled. That has nothing to do with race.
    • reply
      by anonymous on Jun 17, 2012 at 10:22 AM in reply to Juke
      This doesn't have anything to do with the color of one's skin but it has everything to do with the lack of honesty and ethics by Mayor Marks.
    • reply
      by Docker on Jun 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM in reply to Juke
      Mr. Jackson has never uttered a racist comment. It is others on this thread who have made racist remarks. These remarks seem to be made in an equal eqquivalent. Black and white.Regardless of his skin color, Mayor Marks is a crook and should step down immediately.
  • by Jaws Location: Tallahassee on Jun 16, 2012 at 06:03 PM
    There are two more City employees that will line up behind Marks. Thanks to the honest City employees that disclosed the corruption that has gone unchecked for years. There are ways to uncover these thugs. Moles working within the City are the ones who really love this City and maybe someday they will get credit. Remember: you can call the local FBI --contact the Ethics Commission and contact our Govenor. Maybe the local paper will continue to push for us ...there seems to be a new local media trend.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 17, 2012 at 06:46 PM in reply to Jaws
      forget the local paper...bob the editor is in bed with marks and the rest of the crooks around here
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 18, 2012 at 04:40 AM in reply to
        Our local paper endorsed marks without any justification other than he is/was the mayor.
      • reply
        by Dee on Jun 18, 2012 at 05:20 AM in reply to
        Truer words have never been spoken! Gabordi either never went to journalism school, or flunked out. No such thing as objective news reporting from the "Democrat".
  • by Virena on Jun 16, 2012 at 04:30 PM
    No point commenting, just wait and see. Hopefully the truth will come out.
    • reply
      by Frank on Jun 17, 2012 at 05:50 AM in reply to Virena
      The truth has already come out. Marks did the things for which the ethics commission ruled. Now we have to see if whoever has the power can remove him from office.
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